Some well-intentioned parents know their marriage is over, but they choose to wait “until the kids are older” before filing for divorce. Others separate later in life after a devastating revelation (such as the admission of an affair) or because the relationship just isn’t working anymore. Each divorce is different, but those involving adult children require special consideration. It’s easy to avoid sharing details about a divorce with little ones. But adult children will likely pepper you with questions and worries. How can you be forthcoming with them in a strategic, loving way?
Don’t Share Too Much Information
Your children may be adults, but they’re still your children. Keep the lines of communication open, but keep in mind they might not want to or need to hear specifics. Don’t divulge every detail of your marital problems, even if they ask. You have a right to your privacy.
There’s also a possibility that your children might not keep your information confidential, which can stir up more resentment. Be mindful of their boundaries, as well as your own.
Don’t Speak Poorly About Your Spouse
Remember that your children likely have fond memories about the both of you as well as your time as a family. Allow them to love and respect your ex-spouse, even if you no longer do. You’re starting a new life without your partner; your children are not.
Do Open the Conversation (and Early)
Make sure your children are comfortable talking to you about the divorce. They may be losing their childhood home at a time that a lot of other changes are going on in their lives: graduation, new jobs, and even starting families of their own. Give them the opportunity to talk about their feelings.
Read about Smart Strategies, and Get Tips from Other Parents
For instance, this article— from eHarmony of all places — has some provocative insights. In particular, this quote about restraining urges to over-share is worth studying: “The rush of cortisol that’s produced during stress can elevate anxiety and create the need for a quick release via immediate feedback. Sending that quick text — “Your father is leaving me” — may seem right in the moment; but it’s critical to remember that your daughter is not your best friend, but is, in fact, your daughter. In addition, sending out a quick SOS most likely won’t convey the appropriate content and/or tone, which can be interpreted as hurtful or even shocking.”
If you have any further questions about appropriate conduct and sharing during the divorce process, ask your attorney. Our qualified Minnesota divorce lawyers are standing by to help you strategize.